Leaving the opulence of your yacht for a day to immerse in local life is an invaluable and once in a lifetime experience. There are so many worth-while activities to explore while in the Central American country of Costa Rica. Choose from volunteering at a local school to visiting a coffee plantation, learning about the local produce at a farmer's market to hopping over the border into neighbouring Nicaragua. Next in the Costa Rica series, expert Francesca Poddie discovers what makes the region so special.
Guaytil people and pottery
Guaytil is located near Santa Cruz city (Guanacaste), which is the only town in Costa Rica where they still make Indigenous pottery, following the same methods and materials used thousand of years ago.
There is the option for a guided tour where visitors can learn about this ancient tradition passed on from generation to generation. The tours are very hands-on and tourists can even handle the clay, tools and other materials that are used to make this unique type of pottery . A great plus of this tour is that visitors get the chance to purchase some of the ceramics off of the local artisans, taking a great art piece and helping the community at the same time.
Although, most of the coffee in Costa Rica is produced in the mountains close to the capital city of San Jose, some of the best coffee for exportation is grown among the hills of Peninsula de Nicoya in Guanacaste province.
This tour provides the opportunity to learn about the history of the coffee and plantations, and how this crop turned on the economy in the past century. It takes you to Diria working farm to experience the whole coffee process, from picking, to selection, all the way through to roasting. At the end, enjoy a cup of Diria Coffee and even buy some to take home.
Colonial Cities (discover Nicaragua)
This tour will take you to Costa Rica's northern neighboring country: Nicaragua. Nicaragua is just two hours away from Marina Papagayo, and colonial city Granada, only one hour and half from the border, so this tour can easily be completed in one day.
Guests will be able to experience one of the oldest colonial and colorful cities of Central America. Explore its colonial charm , and experience Central American culture. You will visit the San Francisco Convent, which holds a large collection of stone sculptures dating back to pre-Hispanic times. After lunch at a local restaurant, you will drive to the active Masaya volcano, where you can stand right at the edge of the immense crater. Before driving back to Costa Rica, you will stop at the picturesque Indian Market at Masaya, where you can shop for unique arts and crafts, souvenirs and leather goods.
Creciendo Juntos is the community outreach programme of Peninsula Papagayo. Since 2001 they have been contributing to the development of nearby communities through education.
Creciendo Juntos offers rewarding civic opportunities within the local community, inspiring guests and groups to strive for a more meaningful travel experience . You'll have the opportunity to select excursions that aid in supporting the local schools, conserving the environment or adopting a family or a child during your stay. Volunteer experiences can include arts and crafts and reading to local school children, painting a school, or even bringing a backpack from home fillled with supplies for local school children.
People and culture
This cultural experience starts at a local Farmer's Market where you can learn about exotic tropical fruits and vegetables while you interact with farmers or local clients who buy the freshest products in town. The tour continues around the hospital and surrounding neighborhoods in Liberia where they preserve the Tico culture, customs and traditions. Experience firsthand what life is like in Costa Rica. This tour is enhanced with a typical lunch in a beautiful local and real Costa Rican restaurant.
After lunch, visit Liberia Central Park along with the main church, schools and universities; looking at historical buildings and streets while you learn about people, culture, history. On the way back, visit an art gallery and a fine souvenir shop to admire what local artists splendidly design or paint such as; beautiful jewellery, hammocks and carved wood works that are treasured worldwide for their unique styles and designs. Great opportunity for shopping for Costa Rican handicrafts.